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Bowmanstown seeks grant writing help

Published April 04. 2019 01:12PM

Bowmanstown Borough Council is looking for some help with grant writing. Members of the council invited Michael Wentz to the meeting Tuesday night to talk about grants, the borough’s issues and his experience with grant writing.

Wentz has worked as the grants coordinator for the borough of Walnutport and has applied for grants on behalf of municipalities in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

He told the council that grants are a way of bringing back to the borough some of the tax money paid to the state and federal government. Grants help a municipality get what it needs.

He warned that just because they pursue a grant doesn’t necessarily mean that they get the money for this year’s project.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. “You apply now. And you might not have the money until next year or the year after that.”

Although Wentz doesn’t consider himself a professional grant writer (he said he does the work for the fun of it), he does get paid a percentage of the grant or a monthly fee.

Council member William Ravert asked him what the average fee is, to which he replied about $500 per month.

Council President Kara Scott thanked Wentz for coming out and providing to the council all of his insight into getting grants.

The council didn’t discuss whether or not they would ask Wentz to pursue grants on the borough’s behalf.

The council did hear from borough engineer Jessica Rehrig about a project that has been approved to receive grant funding in part by a Local Share Account grant and the state Multimodal Grant.

The Lime Street connection project has been in the works since 2014, but is getting closer to going out to bid. It would pave the section of gravel roadway from where Lime Street ends at Green Street to where it begins again at Spring Street.

Rehrig said the bid documents and plans for the work have been submitted to the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. DCED told her the documents satisfy the grant requirements. Rehrig thinks the project will be able to go out to bid later this summer.

In anticipation of the project going out to bid, the borough’s water and sewer authority wants to relocate 150 feet of the water line before the roadwork begins, Rehrig explained to the council.

Council member Darren Thomas, who represents the water authority, said, “The water authority would like to do it before the road goes in, because of settling.”

Rehrig said the water line relocation would cost about $15,000, which would include the labor cost, surveying and stakeout, engineering and the like. She suggested the cost be split equally between the borough and Bowmanstown’s water authority.

Thomas said the water authority has discussed the cost sharing and agrees with it. He added that the cost may drop another $10 to $12 per linear foot, because a contractor told him they wouldn’t have the extra work of breaking through pavement to do the relocation.

“Are you asking permission to move forward,” council member Barb Eastland said. “I say yes.”

The council made a motion to approve the cost sharing of the water line relocation project, and approved it with a vote.

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